A rare fish story

The author caught this one-pound crappie in Lake Mead in July, more than 40 years since he first caught this extremely rare fish -– rare for Lake Mead, anyway – where walleye can also be found for the lucky angler.

Courtesy photo

The author caught this one-pound crappie in Lake Mead in July, more than 40 years since he first caught this extremely rare fish -– rare for Lake Mead, anyway – where walleye can also be found for the lucky angler.

KINGMAN – Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Matt Chmiel, the Arizona Game and Fish Region 3 aquatics program supervisor, about a fish I had caught in Lake Mead.

That fish was a black crappie; a fish I hadn’t caught in that lake since 1975, and one I hadn’t seen since 1985, when a member of Kingman Bass Club brought one in after a tournament we had at South Cove.

I posted a photo of that fish on Facebook and was surprised when Kingman Bass Club President Donnie Scroggins posted that he had actually caught two crappie earlier this year, close to where I had caught mine.

So I wondered, are there a lot of crappie in Lake Mead?

What I learned from Chmiel was interesting and surprising.

“Yes,” Chmiel said, “There are crappie in Lake Mead.”

Chmiel told me that they have caught them in the past in gill nets that they set out in their portion of Lake Mead.

“The lake is basically divided into four areas, and we share the data with the other agencies that conduct fish studies on the lake,” Chmiel said.

Here are results of the AZGFD’s studies as it relates to crappie caught in the past on Lake Mead.

In 2015, AZGFD caught one crappie in its nets. In 2014 they caught one crappie. In 2013, they got 13 crappies, but in 2012 they got zero. In 2011, they got 11 crappies.

But what was also interesting was when Chmiel said they have caught other fish that you wouldn’t normally think would be in Lake Mead.

“We’ve got some walleyes too,” he said.

He then gave me the data on that species. In 2014, there were two walleyes caught in nets, but they were on opposite ends of the lake, Chmiel said.

I should note that at one KBC tournament out of South Cove years ago I remember one of our members bringing in two walleyes that he said he caught in Spring Cove on a purple power worm.

And the most unusual fish they have caught?

“We got a procostumous once,” Chmiel said. “That is an aquarium fish that feeds on algae,” Chmiel said.